I have never worked for a chain school. I probably never will either. I have been quite happy working for a smaller privately run school on salary. However, I have applied and interviewed at many chain schools. Here is my take on it:
Per class I would recommend at least a half hour of prep-time each day. Familiarize yourself with lessons at least the day before if not sooner, have a weekly lesson plan done in advance. If you dont go to class prepared, you will just be babysitting.
The following applies to: Happy Marian, Columbia, Sunshine, and Giraffe English “chain” schools.
All of the above schools stated to me in the interviews that prep time would be required. They expected a minimum of 30 minutes unpaid prep time per day.
For these chain schools, the curriculum was set, books provided, and even a basic outline for the lesson plan provided. All they wanted me to do was show up 30 minutes before class, read over the material, and teach/play with the kids.
Extras (Unpaid time):
Sunshine and Giraffe both stated that they needed me to write assessments for the students each week after class. That would easily take 30 minutes to and hour. That time was clearly stated as unpaid time. Some schools will ask you to stay and “help” or be part of “team meetings” off the clock.
If you want to walk in, play with the kids, pretend to teach something, and then walk out without putting in any time beyond your scheduled work hours and do zero prep…stay away from teaching! You are doing a disservice to those young minds.
You may view teaching as a quick buck or a way to pay the bills, but also keep in mind that teaching is so much more than a job…it is a responsibility too, and a pretty significant one at that. Don’t rob these kids of a good education, a chance to get ahead in life, because you want a quick easy dollar. Take some pride in your work, put in the prep time and honestly teach these children.
By no means accept a job that does not pay for the prep time. If you go hourly, and are paid a wage, then take a job that will pay for your prep hours. If you go salary, schedule your day so that you can work in an honest amount of good prep time to develop good meaningful lessons for your students.
Although those schools I listed above stated unpaid prep-time, I am confident that I could have negotiated paid prep time or a higher hourly rate that would compensate for any unpaid time on the job.
[color=darkred]Do the right thing and be a responsible teacher.[/color]
In regards to learning mandarin and teaching at the same time….I am sure you have read the recent posts about required hours for visa issuing mandarin language schools. The mandatory weekly hours are 15. That is quite a lot. Also remember you need to keep your grades up to keep that visa. That means lots of study time.
Teaching and putting in an honest effort of prep for your classes, plus studying, plus attending mandarin class each day can overwhelm you fast. That won’t be fun for you or the kids you are teaching.
If you do it the other way around and get your visa through your employer and take a lighter load of mandarin classes, things will be much easier for you. Mandarin classes will be more expensive though. Classes for shorter hours almost always are.
Sorry I couldn’t be more of a help with direct advice, I just wanted to give you an honest, upfront, no BS look at what you are getting into here in Taiwan.